Saturday, August 12, 2006

What's the point of enterprise Web 2.0 if suits don't get it?

Frank Arrigo muses on Tuesday's Web 2.0 piece in the Australian newspaper, bemoaning the lack of quotes from and/or mentions of local 2.0 entrepreneurs. This is an accurate criticism, not necessarily because us entrepreneurs can come up with anything more exciting, but at least we wouldn't sound as clueless as the besuited analysts who are flailing around trying desperately to seem as if they're on the cutting edge. Take the bloke from Gartner:

However, Gartner analyst Dion Wiggins says it's more important to understand the technologies behind Web 2.0 than its democratising effect on information.

"That's only one element of it. It's really about what the technology enables you to do, and really that's creating a richer environment in the browser," Wiggins says.

"There was a clear lacking in richness of web access for users, and this functionality brings back that richness," he says.

Bullshit, Dion. Maybe you got misquoted by Andrew Colley or maybe Andrew was asking a leading question or maybe Andrew chose the wrong quote out of a sixpack where the other five were humdingers, I don't know, but if that's your message then I call bullshit. The social and political aspects on Web 2.0 are far more important than the technology, and to say any different is to display your own ignorance.

Then again, you have to expect vacuity when you're reading a MSM article filled with analyst quotes. The Forrester analyst is the only one of the three quoted who sounds like they have any idea at all. From personal experience as a journo, it's hard to get an analyst to say something that doesn't sound like a vague motherhood statement, if only because that's all they're qualified to talk about, and that's what you're ringing them up about. It's the concept of a simplistic analyst ringaround to explain a new concept to the suits in a MSM feature which is the problem.

So how to get the 2.0 word out there in a format which the suits will consume that doesn't come across as a blancmange of nothingness? Perhaps I'm biased given my own background, but I think this is where the niche business magazines come in: IDM, CIO, MIS, Technology & Business and similar publications are where the concept should really be explained in full. Will any of these publications have the journalistic talent and the editorial comprehension to embrace the 2.0 concept and spend enough effort in understanding it (and identifying who is qualified to speak about it) and delivering an accurate portrayal of the phenomenon to their audiences? It will be interesting to watch.

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